Bucks em­bar­rass Rap­tors in Game 3

Mil­wau­kee beats Toronto by 27 points to take 2-1 se­ries lead

The Daily Courier - - SPORTS - By The Cana­dian Press

MIL­WAU­KEE — Kyle Lowry’s seething si­lence said ev­ery­thing. While DeMar DeRozan an­swered ques­tions about one of the Rap­tors’ worst losses in fran­chise his­tory, Toronto’s all-star point guard leaned back in the chair be­side him, his lips pursed, his eyes nar­rowed in an an­gry glare.

The Rap­tors were thor­oughly routed by an up­start Mil­wau­kee Bucks team 104-77 on Thurs­day, and in the mo­ments af­ter the ugly loss Lowry’s body lan­guage mir­rored his team’s shock and rage.

“We got our ass bust,” Lowry fi­nally said when asked to sum up the Rap­tors’ per­for­mance.

Lowry scored 13 points to top Toronto, while DeRozan went with­out a field goal in the play­offs for the first time in his ca­reer, man­ag­ing just eight points on 0-for-8 shoot­ing.

Delon Wright had 13 points off the bench, while Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas had 11 points and seven re­bounds.

All the pre-game talk was about match­ing the Bucks’ in­ten­sity, but the Rap­tors did ex­actly the op­po­site, dig­ging them­selves a first-half hole the size of Wis­con­sin. Now the Bucks take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven play­off se­ries into Satur­day’s Game 4 in Mil­wau­kee.

If the Rap­tors’ con­fi­dence took a wal­lop with the loss, Lowry wasn’t say­ing so.

“I still think we can win the se­ries,” he said. “It ain’t over. It just sucks right now. It’s a ter­ri­ble night right now. It’s a ter­ri­ble feel­ing the way we just got our ass beat. Ter­ri­ble feel­ing. So we’d bet­ter pick it up. If not, it’s go­ing to be a ter­ri­ble feel­ing again. But our con­fi­dence has not changed. We’ll be fine. We’ve got to come out there and do what we gotta do Satur­day.”

Khris Mid­dle­ton scored 20 points, while Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo added 19 points to lead the Bucks, who are mak­ing their first play­off ap­pear­ance in two sea­sons.

In­tro­duced to the theme mu­sic of Barney, it was all down­hill from that point for Toronto.

Mil­wau­kee’s motto is Fear the Deer, and the Bucks, with a young start­ing lineup that in­cludes two rook­ies and a 22-year-old star in An­te­tok­oun­mpo, had the Rap­tors run­ning scared from the open­ing tip-off. They looked com­pletely out of sorts, un­able to make a shot or a pass — DeRozan un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally fired a pass to no­body that was caught by a fan.

Asked for an an­swer, coach Dwane Casey said: “There’s none.”

“It starts with us, my­self as a coach as far as hav­ing them ready to play in a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment,” Casey said. “They am­bushed us, and there’s no as­pect of our game that we ex­e­cuted what­so­ever.”

The Rap­tors, who are no­to­ri­ously slow starters any­way, man­aged just 12 points in the open­ing quar­ter, the sec­ond low­est in fran­chise play­off his­tory. (They man­aged just nine points ver­sus Detroit in 2002).

The mas­sacre stretched into the sec­ond, and when Mid­dle­ton scored on a free throw late in the first half it put the Bucks up by a whop­ping 32 points. Wright drained a three-pointer two sec­onds be­fore the break, and the Rap­tors trudged into half­time down 57-30 — just four points shy of their big­gest half­time deficit in play­off his­tory — 31 points last year in Game 5 of the East­ern fi­nals against Cleve­land.

CAVS 119, PAC­ERS 114

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS (AP) — LeBron James fin­ished with 41 points, 13 re­bounds and 12 as­sists as the Cleve­land Cava­liers set an NBA post-sea­son record by eras­ing a 25-point half­time deficit to beat the In­di­ana Pac­ers 119-114 on Thurs­day night and take a 3-0 se­ries lead.

“We knew we had to take (some) punches, but it was a flurry, more than we ex­pected,” James said. “At half­time, I was just look­ing at the guys and telling them ‘Let’s get a cou­ple stops.’”

Cleve­land was down 74-49 at half­time. The largest half­time deficit over­come pre­vi­ously was 21 points, by Bal­ti­more against Phil­a­del­phia in 1948.

James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the NBA’s ca­reer play­off scor­ing list and tied an­other NBA record by win­ning his 20th con­sec­u­tive first-round game.

The rally ru­ined Paul Ge­orge’s big night. He had 36 points, 15 re­bounds and nine as­sists.

Game 4 goes Sun­day.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Five mem­bers of the Toronto Rap­tors watch Mil­wau­kee Buck Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo throw down a dunk dur­ingGame3oftheirNBA­play­off­seriesonThurs­day­inMil­wau­kee.TheBuckswon104-77.

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